Before I introduce this week’s guest…
There I was sitting on the Delivering Happiness bus at the 2010 TED conference and Tony Hsieh (the CEO of Zappos) was pouring me shots. I thought I had made it.
(I was hanging out with the Zappos guy!)
Fast forward 10 years, when I heard the news we had lost Tony in late 2020. I felt a deeper sense of loss.
I only had a few personal interactions with him. By no means we were friends.
But unbeknownst to me, I saw him as a fellow Asian Noble Warrior who was actively pushing the envelope of cultural and business norms. I have grown to admire and respect him.
Jenn and Tony were at the forefront of a movement that is making “purpose” cool in business. They were co-founders of Delivering Happiness – they help companies create happier company cultures for a more profitable and sustainable approach to business. Tony was also her soulmate. They’ve been close friends for decades.
So this conversation was more personal and reminiscing of Tony. But this is also a conversation with a thought leader.
Jenn Lim is the CEO/cofounder of Delivering Happiness. They help companies create happier company cultures for a more profitable and sustainable approach to business.
She is the author of her new book Beyond Happiness How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose and People for Growth and Impact.
Beyond Happiness offers inspiring stories from Jenn, case studies from 400 businesses, practical mental frameworks to implement these big ideas.
If you are a business leader who values your employees as assets, not expenses; and you want tactical ways to operationalize your value for more purpose and PROFIT, this is a conversation you don’t want to miss.
✏️ How she lost her cofounder and soulmate Tony Hsieh and how it changed the book Beyond Happiness 5 weeks before the book is due
✏️ (60:10) Why alignment session amongst stakeholders is THE best tool for businesses to immediately inject more purpose, impact, profit in uncertain times
✏️ (39:24) The core quality that makes Tony Hsieh a business and cultural innovator
✏️ (51:53) The mental model she figured out after helping 400 businesses integrate people, purpose, and profit
✏️ (53:47)The case study of how Starbucks got even stronger after COVID
✏️ (23:38) The 24-hour resilience test – how to quickly determine how bulletproof you actually are
✏️ (29:05) (22:15) The 2 meta frameworks to uncover your deepest core values: movies and high-low moments
✏️ (46:58)How to influence a skeptical CFO about purpose and culture
✏️ (13:31)And finally the key life lessons she learned about happiness and purpose and resilience from losing Tony and her Dad
Beyond Happiness offers inspiring stories from Jenn, case studies from 400 businesses, practical mental frameworks to implement these big ideas. If you value people and you want practical frameworks to bring more purpose and people, and profit in these volatile times.
Links & Resources
🔥 Buy Beyond Happiness https://bit.ly/jennlim
🔥 Get the roadmap to find your 2nd mountain of legacy and impact: https://bit.ly/3lVRhhN
Wisdom QuotesYou just never know when you're going to impact a life. People remember when you show a simple gesture. Click To Tweet Once we have our purpose and values then it doesn't really matter as much what else is swirling in the world Click To Tweet The irony of happiness is understanding of not necessarily working for your resumes, working for your eulogy. What do you want to remember for? Click To Tweet When you make different choices, bet against the grain of what you would normally do or what society wants you to do. That's when that hero's journey actually tests you to the greatest amount. Click To Tweet Because I feel comfortable with you so I can let my brain go and I don't have to feel so shielded and guarded to like trying to construct my words I can feel and hear and think all at the same time and be present Click To Tweet Being in that space without judgment. Judgment of others in no matter what whacky ideas they come up with. Or judgment of ourselves when we hold ourselves back because this is going to sound insane to others. Tony Hsieh didn't have that… Click To Tweet If you fear being ridiculed then you're probably around the wrong people. Click To Tweet Brand is what you say and external expression of your company. And then culture is what you do on a day-to-day basis. And culture is especially what you do when the boss isn't looking Click To Tweet Alignment session creates a bigger sense of we're in this together. Do you want to stick it through and do you want to do it together? Click To Tweet You can have everything in the world, but you what is it really that we're all looking for? Click To Tweet Being true to ourselves is not just a concept or a construct. It's what are we going to do about that? Test ourselves, test what we believe in, and draft our purpose statements. It's never too early to do that and actually see what that… Click To Tweet
Transcript by AI
Tony didn't have that in his, in his, in his body. Not really. That's awesome. Came up with like bad shit, crazy ideas sometimes. And sometimes they did, uh, you know, amazingly well. And sometimes they,
welcome to Nobel warrior. My name is noble warrior is where I interview entrepreneurs about their journey from the first mountain of success and achievement to the second mountain of impact and legacy. So then you can navigate your own journey from the first mountain to the second.
If you have any friends who are on this journey and would like more inspiration to take that leap of faith, go ahead and share this episode with them now. Thank you for it.
Before I introduce this week's guest. I want to tell you a quick. So there, I was sitting at the delivering happiness bus and the 2010 Ted conference. And Tony shay, the CEO of Zappos was pouring me shots. I thought I had made it.
I was hanging out with the Zappos guy and fast forward 10 years when I first heard this story that we had lost Tony in the late 2020, I fell a deeper sense of loss.
I only had a few personal interactions. By no means we were friends, but unbeknownst to me, I saw him as a fellow Asian Nobel warrior, who was actively pushing the envelopes of culture and business norms.
I had grown to admire and respect him.
Jenn Lim and Tony Hshieh were at the forefront of a movement that's making purpose cool in business They were co-founders of delivering happiness, a company that helps other companies create happier company cultures for a more profitable and sustainable approach to business.
Tony was also her soulmate. They being close friends for decades. so this conversation was more personal, a reminiscing of Tony, but don't forget. This is also a conversation with a thought leader in this space. Jenn Lim is the CEO and co-founder of delivering happiness.
She is the author of a new book beyond happiness. How authentic leaders prioritize purpose and people for growth and impact.
So if you are a business leader who values your employees as assets, not expenses, and you want tactical ways to operationalize your value for more purpose and profit, this is a conversation you don't want to miss.
This conversation, we talked about how she lost her co-founder and soulmate Tony, and how she changed the book beyond happiness five weeks before the book was due.
We talked about why alignment sessions amongst stakeholders is the best tool for businesses to immediately inject more purpose impact profit in these uncertain times.
We talked about the core quality that makes Tony Hshieh a business and cultural innovator
talked about the mental model. She figured out after helping 400 businesses, integrate people, purpose and profit,
and the case study for how Starbucks got even stronger during and after COVID .
The 24 hour resilience test, how to quickly determine how Bulletproof you actually are
the two meta frameworks to uncover your deepest core values with movies and high, low moments.
And how do we influence a skeptical CFO about purpose and value?
And finally, the key life lessons she learn about happiness, purpose and resilience from losing Tony Hshieh and her dad.
And lastly, I will say this beyond happiness offers inspiring stories from Jen, case studies from 400 businesses, practical mental models to implement these big ideas.
If you value people, you want practical frameworks to bring more purpose people in profit in these volatile times, go out and buy beyond happiness.
Without further ado, please welcome Jen Lim.
I want to start by this short passage from your book and lead into how we met.
And we read this, this trip was one of the most grueling, yet spiritual experience I've ever had. The days before our hike, we had to acclimate. So we walk around this little town in the neighborhoods. We visited with families, living in huts made of modern straw generously offering the little they had in the form of tea or a biscuit, even though they didn't have much material wealth, they seem to have an intrinsic happiness crow's feet, wrinkles, itch happiness in the corner of their eyes, not the pseudo smiles people often put on the work on the street, the ones we had Sally become accustomed to, for me, those moments of human connection brought back a sense of what happiness and humanity could mean. Those people had no idea who we were or why we were there. Uh, Nate made us feel welcome and gave us a sense of belonging.
The reason I read that particular paragraph is this in years ago, when we first met at Ted, when they delivering happiness bus was in front of that hotel, you and Tony made me feel welcome. I was a newcomer. I had no idea what's going on. And you had a whole posse following, traveling with your guys. And then without any kind of hesitation, you just, Hey, join us and then went into a bus party with you guys a little bit.
And it was still something that I remember. So I would just want to remind you in case, um, you've probably forgotten already, you know, those little gestures, that, those little things I still remember today, 10 years later. Um, thank you for sharing that. I didn't forget that one. Actually. I remember meeting you, uh, even though there was just so many things and memories along the way of this and yeah, I mean, um, I think that.
Re thank you for reading that passage too, because it's also very different hearing it from your voice instead of mine. And then you coming in with the story from what you just shared. And there's something about that. That to me is really, it resonates with me wholly, because one of the things I've learned is that you just never know when you're going to impact a life and you could be having like the crappiest shittiest day, but when you show a gesture or you could be in a comfortable or whatever, and all the things that we go through as human beings, there's been so many examples of when someone comes up to me randomly, like, I don't even remember how I met them and they, and I remember, you know, our experience, but.
Like, for example, Tony and I, we had a talk, uh, in Alameda on, uh, on a ship, uh, at the Navy base and we both felt very uncomfortable. It would just didn't feel right. It felt a little too self-helpy if you know what I mean, like, it was just too forced and we both had this feeling, oh, that was kind of a waste of time.
Like that kind of suck. Um, but fast forward years later, we were in non-injury in San Francisco. Like one of the places that we just like late night eating and like the feta, this guy comes up to us and he's like, Hey, are you, you know, Tony and Jen and yada, yada yada. I'm like, yeah. It's like, he didn't know I was on that ship.
And I know I'll never forget that because you shared a message that still resonates. Like it's with me still today. And just for him sharing that it made me reflect on my, I was too presumptuous. That that whole time was a waste because we weren't feeling comfortable, but it wasn't a waste because we were still trying to share a message.
And who knew we would randomly bump into him at nine in Korea, you know, one in the morning and him saying, thank you for sharing that. Um, so in a similar vein of what you just shared, we just never really know when we act and live with a strong sense of purpose and our values and people remember that. I want to talk about the book a little bit.
You written this really beautiful book and you are amazing writer. The book is filled with what's heartwarming was poetic, was personal and immensely practical for any leaders, desiring for more purpose and passion and profit into the organization. It's it's, it's got it all. So I really felt the potency of who you are and the love, the care that you have for this book.
So I just really want to acknowledge you for the work you must, you must have like stripped layers and layers of construct in order to pour into this little, you know, creator, this creation that you had. Well, thank you for sharing that. So changes. It was definitely, I even say in the book that it was harder than Kilimanjaro.
Like it took everything out of me, uh, and especially with Tony's passing, but I appreciate you saying that. It really was my hope. Um, you know, I, it's kind of having that as we all do as creators and entrepreneurs or et cetera, like after it came out or, you know, it's, it's still yet officially to come out, but I still have anxieties about it.
Like, wait, what, what, what did I do? And, um, I think it was because it's such an intense time. And I felt like there was a certain side of me that was coming out, which was, was pretty serious. Cause there was a lot of serious matters happening in the world and with Tony and, um, Yeah, I look back and think like, maybe I could have been a little bit more light, you know, like, but I, I mean, I couldn't at that time, but anyway, I appreciate you saying that, um, the fact that it's practical and not just conceptual, um, and hopefully in some ways I, I was trying to put seeds of spirituality in there too.
Oh, there's definitely palpable. But, but even for those who are not into spirituality or any sort of the, the more subtler realms, right. It's, it's palpable. I just, the sincerity and earnestness and really the love that you're pouring to this word, it's, it's palpable. And so I wanted to share one thing, um, how you, Tony Shay business partner sold.
I just really appreciate how you navigate this personal and business loss in such a public way. It was so much grace and dignity because I've heard, uh, you know, some podcasters interview, you, they didn't quite exercise the sensitivity. They just, you know, very casually say that, but it's, it must be really difficult.
So I'm curious to know, well, for another acknowledgement is I really salute you for the courage and openness to do this work at this point in your life, in such a public way. It's not easy. I'm sure. Is that right? Yeah. Um, it hasn't been easy and I, you know, I, I always hesitate to share it cause you know, I feel like I've lived in and live a lucky life and I'm also trying to own up to.
Me being honest and transparent when things have not been easy. And I would say it's still ongoing. Like just this last weekend, we were shooting a MVP of a documentary for Tony because of one, a small group of friends just want to capture the story that we believe, um, from honest perspectives. So that's still raw to me and I didn't realize it.
And you know, there's also LA life is beautiful and Vegas, and I just had a whole nother wave of emotions and I'm transparently still recovering from that. Um, but uh, knowing that, you know, the physical Tony not being here is different from his presence, uh, not being here. And so, yeah, I mean, had to answer a question.
Uh, it was really the whole. Things I've done. I mean, I've gone through a loss. I lost my dad when he was too young. It was 18 years ago, colon cancer. And that's what really actually drove me to the work of looking into myself, looking at purpose, looking in the values, like how do we actually do that? And then of course, Zappos, you know how to do it at a company level, but also most importantly within ourselves.
So I definitely went through the ringer on stretching my own sense of, um, groundedness and stability and, uh, resistance that comes up when we're, you know, working from a mid cortex versus like, you know, primal cortex versus prefrontal. Like that was. Can you put some context running just in case? Oh yeah, of course I, yeah, I assumed you did because I know we've had deep conversations over the years.
Um, so the primal mid-court Texas, what's responsible for us to fall in the states, uh, because we, as human beings want to stay alive. So whether it's, you know, we've heard so much about the flight fright or freeze, I would add to that, um, call for help. Um, and this essentially when we're an animal that just wants to stay alive, we react behaviorally because.
That's what's ingrained in us, you know, physiologically for, so, so, so so many years, and now we know more that the prefrontal cortex is like, if we can actually separate those emotions and reactiveness that prefrontal cortex is what we rely on for that sense of, um, analysis and being able to come from a place that is bringing in logic and in a way that is not just reactive to that immediate, um, emotion.
And of course we're not, you know, walking around the streets, scared of being eaten by some huge animal anymore these days, but we all are operating on that same system in many ways. So when I think like why this is part, part of like the. Uh, an amazing time to be alive is that we can separate those things.
And, um, you know, like, you know, like I mentioned earlier, maybe our ancestors worked because they were focused on those physiological needs of staying alive, but because we have that luxury and because we have that space and because we can understand these different elements, then we can be more intentional about how we go through these, um, experiences in our life.
So it really, it tested me to the core of it made me question actually, cause I had to be honest to myself, I'm like, yeah, I've been doing this for 10, 11 years. Do these things still hold. With all the things that we saw and everyone I'm sure on this podcast went through their own sense of loss grief. And it comes in many forms.
You know, it's not just losing someone you love is a loss of flight, you know, what's going on with climate change. Uh, it's going on with like the census of like relationships being lost or changed that really pushed us to a different level with COVID. So I had to, um, you know, as they say, eat my own dog food, or unless you can see my background and drink my own champagne.
Yeah. So I had to put myself through the ringer of like, this is this all true, still my beliefs in scientific happiness. And, and by going through that process, I came out with this book of yes. And so essentially yes. And. Yeah, it's such a beautiful, I mean, I truly, I don't normally just promote anyone's book, but truly this is a gem of a book.
It's it's, it's, it's, it's very human. It's very compassionate. It's very warm. It's very loving. And, uh, and for people that just care about profit, Hey, it's profitable. So, so, you know, it's a win, win, win, win for everyone. So let's switch. Yeah. Switch gear for a bit. Tony Shay was one of the iconic figures of our business culture today in our time.
And, and you and him embrace this idea. We harness and help other people bring happiness into the workplace, you know, inspire individuals to do the right thing. Both of you play a huge role in changing the business conversations, the narratives about purpose and value, basically. In short, you meet purpose value, core relevant for business, right?
So that's a huge feat. So I'm curious to know, um, I guess what's it, can you maybe for the people who may still kind of don't who are not on that train yet painters a movie, if you would, what's it like to be a, to live a purpose-driven life to run a purpose driven business, to, to, to lead a movement about purpose?
I know you, you can talk about the numbers, but all of that aside just what's the experience of doing that and being at the F at the mean, the leader, a thought leader in that space. I would say that, um, I mean that, that question itself, there's so many layers to it and feel free to unpack however you want to.
Okay, cool. Thank you. I think that what it was, you know, when we first launched delivering happiness in 2010 was a novel idea and they're like, oh yeah, that's cool. Zappos, yada, yada, yada. And they didn't think that, uh, they would say like, that would never happen here. That's not my company and it's not how I'm going to run it, but it's cool.
Someone's doing it. And then I think from that point forward and unbeknownst, we would, you know, co-found a company around it. I felt I wanted to prove people wrong to say that, no, it's not just, this is actually a human thing that we're talking about. Like these things that are like was buzzwords. Now that weren't then, you know, purpose and values, as you say, it's cool culture, wasn't even around as a word.
And then now we have things like belonging, you know, and diversity and inclusion and all that. But I think that the concepts are fundamentally the same. They keep evolving over time and just to keep it as current as we can is what I really try to highlight and exemplify in the book. So to your question, what I think is now how someone feels like they could be living accordingly to that.
I mean, you've heard, I'm sure like audience members have heard about the whole great awakening, great resignation, you know, a great reset, great blah, blah, blah, XYZ, whatever you want to put in there. And that means are there great apocalypse? Yes. I always have some people who watch Fox news quite closely.
So yes, it's good to have different perspectives in life. Uh, and so that, to me, I mean just the whole data point of like 4 million people and, uh, April alone. And I, I think it has been like growing since then, but quitting their jobs without necessarily knowing where they're going to go next. And we're in the middle of a global recession.
That to me meant a lot because that we'd never seen that before, uh, in our lifetime, at least. So by having this time, I think we've all had an ability to ask these questions of what am I doing? Why am I waking up in the morning and doing this in the course of my day? And, you know, Steve jobs was famously known for saying like his own way of saying, if I wake up in the morning and say, am I going to like, do I really want to do this?
You know, basically do I say hell yes to this or not? And if not, then it's not worth doing. And in some similar ways, you know, that's the Tony belief. That's my belief. And I think that is, you know, Tony used to talk about just like, he used to hit a snooze button on his own company. Like he didn't want to go to work anymore and like exchange.
I think that's applying to any everyone, whether your working at DoorDash or Uber, or, you know, building your own company, are we wanting to wake up in and feel like no matter what day kind of day we have. Knowing there's going to be crappy days. Like, let's be real. That's why it's beyond happiness. It's like, let's not fool ourselves.
Like those, the highs and the lows in, um, life doesn't just come or blissfulness all day it's it's, it's both, it's the polarity of light. That's the reality of life. Yeah. Right. Exactly. And understanding and accepting that and reconciling that in a healthy way. Based on again, the prefrontal cortex is like being able to understand it.
But the biggest thing is to be living in this purposeful way is to actually be able to say no matter what happens for the next 24 hours, if you want to use it as a metric, I'm so grounded and no matter what blindsides me, whether it's my own. Or someone else's health that I love, or my company that suddenly had a huge hit because we all of a sudden had new competitor.
And so we got blindsided, you know, all these things that we cannot control. But the biggest thing in the biggest belief is that once we have that grounded-ness of our purpose and values for ourselves defined for ourselves and understanding that, then it doesn't really matter as much. You know, what else is swirling in the world of things that we cannot control?
So, yeah, I, I hate to use, you know, death as a way to inspire people. Cause it sounds, it seems morbid, but it is something that's really impacted my life to inspire all that we do of like the irony of happiness is understanding of not necessarily working for your resumes, working for your eulogy. What do you want to remember for?
Hmm. Yeah. I love that metaphor that you, that you put in as a, as a proper tour, right. Are you working for your resume or you, I guess not working for w you're living a legacy, so to speak, right. I really love that metaphor that you have. So if you don't mind going a little bit deeper, you know, going, perhaps describe it, right.
If a watching Jen lamb or other, this is leaders living the purpose, driven life, running purpose, driven business, being a thought leader, leading others to inject more purpose and authenticity in their personal and business life. Right. If we were watching this as a movie, what else would we see and hear and experience?
Um, if it was a movie, I mean, I suppose something another. It's an age old con concept. And I bring it up in, uh, in the book. And it's the hero's journey by Joseph Campbell is the one that created that and wrote about it, essentially that the hero's journey. If you think about any, any movie, like what, what's a movie that you love that let's just say, I love, I love the matrix.
Okay. So it's a documentary. It's fantastic. Nice. It was a documentary in you? Uh, maybe. Yeah, I actually, my mind in my mind, yes, I can try reverse the matrix and reality. Yes. Um, so random fun fact. I was actually an extra matrix two and three when it was, I was laid off at the time. So I had extra time on my hands.
Oh yeah. What a story. That's like, you can just introduce yourself. And any TedTalk opening. Like I was, I was in matrix two and three. It was the internal rave scene and the center of the earth. Oh, awesome. That's crazy. Um, it could be having a whole separate podcast on that story in itself, but, uh, but yeah, so like every movie, every epic movie has this hero's journey and there are certain characters involved.
So it's like the hero, which is obviously you. Right. And then there are the people that are the guides, the Yoda's, uh, the mentors. And then there are those that are trying to defeat you. Um, you know, all of the other. Sunglass in Batman and black people in the matrix as an example. And so it's curious about this is that we are all living in our hero's journey and we just, we don't just have one.
We have several of them as I think every stage of our life we've had, like when we went through high school and then through college, and then we started our first job and then we started our first company, you know, whatever that is, every time we make these kinds of crazy decisions to do something big for ourselves.
That's this whole, if you can imagine like a clock this time of you wake up in, you know, uh, when you, when, when you, as Neo woke up that morning and seemed like a normal day, but little did you know, the rest of your life was going to change and going through those experiences, when you make different choices, Better against the grain of what you would normally do or what society wants you to do.
That's when that hero's journey actually tests you to the greatest amount. And that's when you actually meeting, like start meeting, um, you know, your allies in the world and you also start meeting those that want to like, well, basically your haters that want to bring you down. And by the end of it, um, you're not necessarily the world has changed around you, but your world has changed and you'll never go back again.
So there's something that I think I love that fact that you're asking about using movies as a metaphor, because I think the question is whoever's listening. Like what's your favorite movie and why is it so meaningful? Why was it. It, what happened to that protagonist who helped him or her along the way who tried to bring him down or her down.
And it's actually really fun and interesting to see those parallels in your own life. Because I believe we all have our own epic hero's journeys, like multiple ones, if we choose to go that rate, go that route. Um, so one thing I didn't say is I just, I didn't recognize the impact Tony Shay had on me until he passed.
And I felt like, wow, there's deep sense of loss because I obviously didn't know him personally, as you have. We met a couple of times, you know, and that's about it. You know, he's really nice to me, but that's about it. Right? What I realized was that I just didn't see that many Asian Americans being thought leaders.
Who are cultural yeah. Cultural innovators per se. So I was like, oh wow, this is really beautiful. So in many ways, Tony was my Yoda without outdoor, officially being my Yoda. So to speak is in my realm of awareness. And now you're being a Yoda, a guide, a Sherpa for those who are traversing their business to be more purpose and value driven with all the tools, all of the experience, all of the wisdom that you cumulated over the last 11 years.
Do you see that as an app comparison? Um, I guess I see there's, you know, there's solidity what you're saying. It's always been interesting to me that, uh, I mean, I'm sure you don't remember, but back in the day, uh, when he wrote delivering happiness, he called, like he said, you know, acknowledgement to Jen, thank you for being my backup brain.
And I was like, oh, that's interesting. I never thought of, I didn't know, he thought of me that way, but apparently he did cause he didn't need more brain. So I'm like, if you want to back up, I guess, I guess that's an honor. Um, but I think that, you know, over the years, uh, it's me, it, Tony casts, a big footprint image and shadow, and I've been in that background of wanting to support and just like not really wanting to put myself out there and honestly, fearing failure, even though I talk about not feeling fear, fearing failure, um, I had that too, because those are big shoes, uh, not to make us up as reference, but like, those are big shoes to fill.
So I appreciate that. It's hard not to, um, uh, so that's where I was comfortable, you know, not taking on my own hero's journey essentially for so many years and in the last few years, and this is even before Tony passed, I realized that, well, I actually, you know, ran this company and Tony Tony's very, hands-off like, he's a leader by letting people do his, do their thing, you know?
And it, it wasn't until a few years ago I looked back and I was like, I actually did this. You know? And, and that's when I became more aware that, uh, I had all these stories, all these years of experience of working with these different companies and hospitals and governance around the world in a way as like, I have a perspective on this 400, right?
Thank you. Uh it's uh, it's, it's a trip to look back and reflect on, but to your question, it, it took me some time to digest and internalize that I actually do have, like, even though we were, you know, backup brains for each other, in some ways when you're just so connected, like we didn't even have many times conversations, we just kind of looked at each other and just like, you know, understood.
Um, I realized through that process, it's. Surely of me owning what is, what I've learned along the way, and being able to express that. And now, you know, inadvertently, because I signed the book contract, uh, early 20, 20 before Tony passed before I thought anything was going to happen that, um, you know, that was a moment.
I was like, wow, this is happening. Uh, and then who knew that he was going to pass, but basically it's becoming a bigger message to me of, you know, everything I've learned along the way. And obviously the homage and respect to the legacy that Tony has forever important imparted to the world and carrying that on.
But, um, but doing it in a way that is being treated. Um, I want to follow with that question, but I'll put a pin on it for a moment. One of your, you had said somewhere along the line of one of your, I guess hack or the biggest, the thing that you're most proud of is your, your own embracing of your own weirdness.
And the one thing that I love is these little editorial comments that you make. Well, the book during your presentation, it would just make them like offline you, and then you move on. I just like, it makes me smile because like the shoe comment is just made like that's so random. How do you do that? Like, cause I think, I think the core message, if I understand your book correctly beyond happiness is embracing, you know, authenticity essentially.
Right. And how do you, how do you do that? 'cause I want to, I want to be, you know, hilarious like Jen, right. And just make these random after hit comments like Tony Shay, like, but you know, I'm, I'm not bad. So I'm curious now, how did you exercise this funny muscle that you have?
That's pretty funny that you think, I mean, I would love to be comedian in a different life, but that was also a very hard life too. But, um, thank you for saying that. I think, I think that, like, it kind of like you and me, you need Tony, you met Tony. I knew Tony. Um, and then like just what just happened right here right now was like welcome to my brain.
That's how my brain works. And I feel comfortable being able to share that with you. And I think. That has a huge part of doing, like doing that because I feel comfortable with you so I can let my brain go and I don't have to feel so shielded and guarded to like trying to construct my words I can feel and hear and think all at the same time and be present.
And I think that's a big part of it, um, that we saw. I mean, we hear, you know, everyone's like you gotta be present in life and all that. There's something else about even we're in zoom land right now. You're here with me. I'm here with you. We also know this is a podcast, but being just in tune and flow with each other, I think that's where.
Yeah, true. Like, well, comedy happens and also tragedy and darkness too, but, uh, I love that aspect of being able to communicate in that way, because then you're picking up on things that I'm not even seeing and vice versa. And that's, I think that's like the beauty and depth of, of what human beings can be for each other.
Yeah. And then I want to go a little deeper there because it's, for me, it's beyond humor. Yes. There's joy and fun in it. We can enjoy any moments, but even as entrepreneurs, you know, give us the permission to be free, to think, to be wacky, to be just ridiculous. I think that's so important, especially for innovators, because if you're so boxed in, we're so tight about, oh, life is this way.
I have to be this way. Identity needs to be this. Then there's no room to really innovate. Right. I think you had mentioned. One thing that you really treasure with Tony is just the boundless thinking that he has. And then I think you mentioned a book. Yes. A lot of them is pretty wacky. It doesn't make sense, like playing with the hot iron, doing the party or something like that.
Right, right. But, but it's also the ability to just think so broadly boundless allow him to be the cultural innovator that he. Um, can you comment on that? Yeah, I think that, I mean, uh, I mean, based on what you're prompting here, especially for entrepreneurs, especially for people that like, we need to adapt and be more creative than ever bottom line.
Um, this world is never going to be the same and I'm not. And I can, for the first time say that without thinking or feeling that I'm being without, that I'm exaggerate. Like we're never going to go back to those days. And so therefore having that level of creativity and being, and choosing to surround ourselves with people that understand that, that there's free thinking.
And of course, there's boundaries that we have to express ourselves about in terms of our own personal brown boundaries. But it is something that. Being in that space without judgment judgment of others in no matter what Lackey idea they come up with or judgment of ourselves. Because I think that's when we hold ourselves back because like, oh, this is going to sound insane to him.
Tony didn't have that in his, in his, in his body. Not really. That's awesome. Came up with like bad shit, crazy ideas sometimes. And sometimes they did, uh, you know, amazingly well. And sometimes they, you know, there was, I was like, Hmm, I'm not sure about that one. But I think that was what I really appreciated about what I gained from our relationship and being around that sort of energy, that it wasn't even just about business, you know, it was about being human and, um, you know, there was a lot of.
Passions and interest in psychology and how relationships work, relationships work. And therefore, of course like how it leads and, and infuses our businesses and, and how to run, uh, companies in a more humanistic way. But I think the more we surround ourselves with that kind of thinking, um, and also let ourselves be that and, and, you know, not fear being ridiculed then if you are, if you fear that you're probably around the wrong people.
Um, and that's a choice that we have even though sometimes it's hard, but you know, even in the last, I don't know, you're experienced in the last 18 months. Yeah, co-founders break up. So to speak, right? Uh, relationships in general breakup, so to speak. And it was the true test of who they were are, and what they want, like in this specific time and place, are we aligned or are we not?
And if we're not, let's not waste time. You know, let's, let's do what we really want. And sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it's super challenging and can get ugly, but at least we're operating from a place as being true to our, our ourselves. Yeah. The core message of your book beyond happiness, being true to ourselves.
And to me, it's certainly not a, oh, I checked the box done now. I'm true to myself forever. Never like to me, it's just an ongoing. Process. And for me, it takes a whole lifetime to really own my weird self, the essence of Hawaiian, like truly who I am. So do you have any specific exercise I can share with us really get to the core of who we are?
Uh, yeah, there's a few. I mean, yeah, I thought, um, I mean, the, the example that you shared earlier about the hero's journey is something that's, I think it's a good start of, you know, imagining yourself in your own epic saga and series, you know, like whatever it might be. I think, uh, another big one, and this is going to, because this is going to sound, I mean, this stuff that we're talking about is basically.
EI it's been around for thousands of years, whether it's a Confucian or Aristotle, or like, you know, what, what means to be happy and whole and what it means to live a meaningful life. So one of the things I tried to do in the book is to bring it and make it more current. And one of the exercises I have is called the happiness heartbeats exercise.
And essentially it's acknowledging that we have our highs and lows, and this is just going through your own life, your own journey, um, all the way back from the beginning. And I actually strongly suggest it to not just be at the workplace, but in your general life. Because I think that, you know, we, we believe in work-life integration at least.
So what are your highest highs? Just three, three of your highest highs, three of your lowest lows and. Basically map that out, name them, and then start asking the questions and just doing the click down and understanding why are those my highs? Why are they my lows? What values were there? What values was I not living?
Uh, what people were there, what people were against, like what I thought was the right thing to do. And just by asking those very few simple questions, you start to see themes of what truly is most important to you. And when we think about happiness, it's usually all about the highs, but when, when you actually dig deeper and dive deeper into those lows, then I think the core of who we really are, comes through what's the most, you know, pain or grief, or, you know, a sense of abandonment within ourselves that comes out.
So for me, that's been one of the most simple ways to get to at least a more accurate picture of who we are truly. Yeah, guys, simple doesn't mean easy, simple and profound, right? So if you really treat it with sincerity and earnestness yields, it will yield, um, profound insights into your own life. And what are your abouts?
And then if you do this a couple more rounds, you may even reveal even more layers of who you are that you'd forgotten about, or you didn't even know you want it. Totally. Um, I've done this with, uh, uh, with people across all levels of the company. And sometimes when, uh, you know, see CEOs hire us in, they think they want to check off the box of culture, but then they start doing an exercise.
They do something like this and they're like, holy shit. That was about me. And they realize that. That this is not a function of checking something off for a quarter and it'll be done. This is the function of the journey that we all live like this lifelong quest of understanding what this is about and how to be real with it.
And that to me is the biggest breakthrough moments of, especially the naysayers, you know, like, um, not, not nothing in CFOs, but usually CFOs. Like, we don't want to do this. Like why would we spend money on this? Like rainbows and unicorns. It doesn't make sense. But once they see what purpose actually means and how it shifts the whole conversation and therefore how people show up to work to the customer, et cetera
then I love those moments when, like there was a CFO in, uh, in New York, uh, retail, He turned around and he was the biggest naysayer and he just said, Hey, thank you. Uh, I feel like I'm a, I can be a better, better man. And that was like huge coming from a new Yorker dude. That was just like gruff and just like all about the money.
But you could see it in his eyes that he meant what he said. It was sincere. Yeah. That's a, that's a testimonial right there. Yeah. No, that's, that's, that's really beautiful. And thanks for sharing that. So how did you get him to do this exercise with sincerity? Because you know, he, uh, you know, let's use him as a, as a, as an example.
He could have either opt out. I'm too good for this, or just do a very lazy job of it. How did you actually have him sincerely motivated, participate in really doing the work. Uh, there was in this specific example, there was another leader and the executive team that was the cheerleader, essentially like gung ho about like, this is what it's about.
Like, we've been making money for decades now and we still want to grow. We still want to do these things, but this is what we're here for. And of course, like not, everyone's going to believe in like the CFO didn't believe him, but he believed it enough to say, okay, I'm willing to try. And so that's when it opened up the door because that's when the CFO started seeing the results of how employees showed up and they were more engaged.
Um, their whole thing was about, you don't have to say happy, right? It's whatever term you want to use for them. It was about thriving. They saw employees like, oh, wow, The leadership cares about whether or not I thrive. That sounds cool. I want to be a part of this. And so I think that was a turning point for the CFO is just saying, oh, this is how it works.
And actually giving them a sense of these are my assets. These are not my expenses. And if I grow with them, then they'll actually help grow the business to, yeah, it's a multiplier impact right. In, because the way I would metaphorically speaking is culture is the personality of the organization. And if you can enhance the individual contributors and then you ripples out right, using your ripples of, of impact analogy, right.
It ripples out is it's a multiplier upon multipliers. So it actually has exponential impact if you do this right. If everyone is aligned in the right direction, everyone is it's, it's behind the, the, the cultural value. Then the benefits of an organization's a win, win, win, win across the board for everyone.
Totally. Uh, I think that's a big learning I've seen in not just talking about it that way, because there's, you know, the zero sum game mentality has been in business for so long capital the Stickley for so long, for different reasons. But now there is a different way to look at it as a positive sum game.
And I think that's the game we need to play to if we want to survive in the future of work, which is happening now. So tactically speaking, right. So you had mentioned in your book, passion, what is it? Purpose, passion and profits as a framework to kind of think about this and you propose that, Hey, let's do all of them do have.
Work-life integration, this, everything synergistic, but rarely in a business situation where you, um, it's either all or nothing. It's usually shades of gray. Hey, we, we really need to, let's say COVID happened, boom. Our business is at risk. Then we have to focus on profit or revenue and then do we just discard, you know, passion and purpose.
Right? So, so it is in this nuanced cases, um, is, makes it difficult for business leaders to embrace the operation of the, these ideas. So I'm curious to know if you have any framework to really help them think about, you know, how to allocate the resources. Maybe, you know, a percentage here, here, here, or 30, 30, 30, or some kind of a framework to help them think about this because otherwise.
The pitfall. I used to be chief culture officer, none of that startup, the pitfall of this is cells always gets primary attention and culture. It takes the back seat. Right. So is there a framework that you have to help people think about this a little bit more holistically? Yeah, of course. And I just wanted to kind of update, uh, I think that the word passion was more used in delivering happiness, the book.
And for me, I, I went from, I replaced it with people. So people purpose and then profits as a given that was, um, yeah, of course. And it's a slight nuance, but I think that, um, some people kind of like shy away from that word of passion, but in terms as a framework, uh, so L like, uh, share how I see it from a conceptual level.
And then I'll, I'll share an example, um, of how they did it, their own. So how I see it is like, uh, strategies, what you think you as a company, um, brand is what you say and external expression of, of your company. And then culture is what you do on a day-to-day basis. And culture is especially what you do when the boss isn't looking.
So having those three things in place of, they need to be coexisting of your strategy, your brand, and culture, and they need to be aligned. So my biggest thing about that is that COVID gave us one of the biggest tests of whether that can be true because. We had to make very immediate decisions. Like there was literal life and death, and there was like life and death, uh, companies.
So I want to point back to, uh, the experience I had at Starbucks because, you know, here's a ubiquitous brand global 450 something thousand. They call partners, but employees and, you know, hugely retail oriented. So of course they were, uh, hemorrhaging money cause they, they had to close all the stores down.
Um, and so in that moment is their stock. They've been steadily growing even after, um, Howard Schultz left and the new leadership came in, but that was a true moment of who are you and what are you made of, so are you going to focus on the fact that your revenues are and your stock price is just like totally plummeting or are you going to focus on what is your.
What was previously known as a very mission driven company, because Starbucks was one of the first out there to say, Hey, whether you're part-time or full-time, we'll pay for your health benefits. So that was like leading edge at the time. They've shifted from that in some ways, but they were known for that.
But what I thought was most interesting and being able to have the experience of seeing what they chose to prioritize in the end, it was, of course, there's the triage stuff that needs to happen. Like we have to get the team on this. Otherwise there will be no, no company to continue for the next 50 years at the same time, the leadership team.
And it can imagine, especially with a as big of a company as this, there's a lot of personalities. There's a lot of politics. There's a lot of. The history, um, in all this. And what I saw was a pretty amazing thing. Like they chose to put that all aside and say, we're doing this for what's most important.
What's most important. It's our people. It's living up to the, the, you know, our mission statement on the wall. It's like one cup, one person, one neighborhood at a time. And in the most senior, probably stressful time that they've ever had, um, they were able to align on that. So what I'm trying to convey in that example is like, if this huge BMS could do this in a way that.
They walked the talk. They said, we have these words of our mission statement on the wall for a reason. We need to fix the business immediately. And they did practical ways to do it. They worked closely with their partners in China because COVID started there first. And so therefore we can learn a lot from them, et cetera.
They also said we want to live according to our purpose and our mission. And so out of that, they had not just the short-term triage, but the long-term view. And they rolled out and announced these big programs, which were not just profit positive is people positive and planet positive. Um, basically made, um, measurable sort of goals to say, this is how we're going to operate differently in this current state of how, uh, of, of the world.
And basically the future of work. So, so I have a nuanced follow up question and I won't we'll complete, right? Um, the way I think about it COVID is like a forcing function, right?
Um, to really force us to exercise, whatever, resolve, whatever strength, whatever courage you have. And as you said, as, as a test, but rather than waiting until life throws us a significant test, you know, to, to force us to lift 2000 pounds, all of a sudden the, the goal is to train ourself, the gym with proper, you know, movement techniques, the dojo, whatever you call it, so that we're ready.
Whenever life throws us a real. Test per se. So, so I'm guessing, cause I don't know the Starbucks folks, but I'm assuming it wasn't nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. Boom. A moment of decision let's choose purpose, right? They probably have had serious rigorous training, right. Quote-unquote throughout.
So then at a time of knee they can be resolute towards their purpose. So if you don't mind, can you share with us maybe a little bit of the, the structural of their organization, the critical mass of people who believe in the vision and then what are their sort of their, their gyms, their drills. So then they're constantly thinking about their purpose, one cup, you know, people and so forth rather than letting the default priority, which is profit take over.
I would have to say meaning if we're going to stick with the Starbucks example, I think that it actually took the pandemic for them to re visit and re internalize what those walls with the words on the wall meant. So they had a strong sense, like people that work at Starbucks are proud to be a part of this organization from the baristas all the way up.
So I think, um, that that was like already embedded in their culture. But I think there, you know, from what I had experienced and seen it depended on who they were, what location, et cetera, as to what if they felt like super strongly that we were super aligned with that or wavering in terms of engagement, in terms of productivity, in terms of, are we living our mission and it took the pandemic for.
The leadership team to actually acknowledge that. And that's what I think the biggest, um, yeah, you know, kudos to them was that they weren't afraid of bad, you know, unfortunate data, you know, like in the past, it's, it's like, well, we'll fix this and fix that. We, as long as we're doing well, you know, profit driven and we're being profitable.
But I think that Penn DEMEC actually created a better muscle for them to re I guess, you know, re exercise or reinvigorate for all of them, because it just brought these super honest conversations. And this is what I would totally recommend. Um, cause I know you want to be practical about this. I would have one of the most.
Uh, impactful things that we've seen happen. And we do with clients. It's like having that alignment session Starbucks did it during a pandemic after a hit, I think is never too late to have an alignment session with who are your key players in the room. And it doesn't have to all be, you know, uh, C-level execs.
It could be who are the people that are really, truly living up to the brand culture, et cetera, and seeing the results of whether or not, and how people are aligned and not aligned. Then it becomes a clearer sense of practical ways of exercising that muscle. Okay. You lost me. So identify your, the way I articulated, uh, cultural champions, right?
People who really embodies the culture. Haven't been in a room and then do what again. So, and I would just say not, not only culture, cause I, I do think that if we're talking about on. Like a leadership level is what I mean is so, so it's not just culture, it's brand it's strategy. It's, you know, your key players in the company itself.
So just to, um, kind of massage that and then have a alignment session. And so for us, the alignment session is like, we go from top of what is your purpose? What are your values? Why are you here? Why did you join in the first place? How do you interpret these values? Are we living them by behaviors? Through our behaviors?
Is that being, um, people are people being accountable for them? Are we measuring them? Are we incentivizing them? You know, are we rewarding and recognizing and saying, hiring and firing, basically if you're not living up to these, you know, our brand or our culture, our values that, you know, that's starts a conversation from.
A different level versus just are real line with our business goals. And of course the business goals come in, but by having that alignment session from coming from a more, you know, higher meta point of view of culture, and I know you're well versed in what it means to have culture and what it, what it means when you have that sort of, sort of alignment, then being able to connect that culture aspect, that brand aspect into the immediate goals, the immediate strategy and how we execute becomes so much more clear because it becomes a more multifaceted conversation versus we have to do do do without thinking about the fact that you might lose a lot of people, um, because you can't retain them there.
They're tired of you doing just because it's supposed to be the right thing to do. So I think the alignment session creates a bigger sense of we're in this together. And she gets to like it, like times are tough. It's going to get worse and, but it'll get better. Do you want to stick it through and do you want to do it together?
And a lot of times people just say no, and I think it's actually a better and healthier self-selection of okay. Then, you know, good luck to you, but we don't need people that are on the fence to, to get this, uh, get, get us to the next, uh, stage of old. Want to go? Um, beautiful. One last question, Jen and economics then, then, um, last question would be, well, one thing that you had in a book is turn yellow to loyal, right?
Yolo stands for you only live once, uh, loyal is live out your living legacy. What do you think is your legacy you're living right now?
yeah. I tried to capture, I would love to hear yours too. I mean, I know, oh, we're running low on time, but it would love to hear us as well. But for me, my legacy was driven from my purpose that I clearly had a better sense of after my dad passed away. After I got laid off from the.com, uh, after nine 11, and then going to Kilimanjaro and that story that you shared earlier and just meeting people that were just so real from that point forward, I wanted to be that, but I still was like trying to figure out my purpose, but since then I've learned a lot.
And for me, I,
I just hope that, um, the work that I'm doing is. As raw and open and honest as I can, as I'm trying to learn myself and have this growth mindset that we are all in, like I'm the first to say, I'm the most imperfect being, and I want to learn more and I can learn from U C K. Like I can learn from your audience.
I can learn from anyone that wants, has something to teach or I was willing to. And so my legacy, I think, is making sure everyone that I love knows that not being, not shying away from just saying, I love you, even though I don't know if they love me, but basically having the courage to say I care. And I, I want the best for you no matter what.
Um, and hopefully being able to teach what I've learned along the way, uh, as I learned from others, like yourself as well, Beautifully said you wanted to don't know what mine is. Yeah. Love to. Yeah. I love the concept that you and Tony both pointed the word greenhouse it's, it's very similar to that, right?
I wanted to be able to walk into a place and then, then really encourage people to believe what's possible within them such that they can build their own greenhouses. Right. I want to be that greenhouse architect and that people can start to believe in themselves and go on their path. Right. As I shared earlier, the first form, the first mountain to the second mountain, right?
To live the life. That's truly who they are authentic, joyous, and also provide for the material world, whatever it is that their dreams are, you know, to be that kind of Arctic architect to help people traverse on the first mountain, just a second mountain. So that would be really the reason why I'm doing noble.
Beautiful. Well, hopefully I, uh, as we continue on to our next hero's journey, we can, I can be a support to you and in what you're doing there. So that's a big part of what I want to Holly when I live my purpose and legacy as well. Oh, you don't need to hope that you're making a difference because I, as I shared with you earlier, that anyone discerning would be able to feel your love and your care from the words that you share in this book, you had said in the very last, you said, if I could choose a superpower, you'll be the ability to sit down with everyone in the world until they know I see the light in them, I would help share their light and impact with everyone else in the world by meaningfully connecting.
Everyone's great greenhouses. That's my purpose in life. You may evolve, but we'll keep tending it until the day. Right. So I definitely feel that in this conversation, Jen, so appreciate you, you know, being this beacon of light and warmth and love and, sharing businesses, how to do that by adding more, uh, purpose and, and value, but really underneath that is is, is inspiration and love and connection.
So I love that. That's amazing. So thank you for being the person that you are and being that beacon of light for everyone. Hmm. Okay. It goes both ways. I feel that from you too.